The Jew And The Carrot

First Fruit Challah For Shavuout

By Seth Fineman and Sarah Chandler

  • Print
  • Share Share
Seth Fineman and Sarah Chandler

In ancient times, the challah eaten on Shavuot was the first taste of the new year’s wheat. During the counting of the Omer, first barley, and then wheat, were counted in anticipation of the Shavuot festival. When the other first fruits were offered in Jerusalem, two large challot were made of the first fruits of the wheat plant -. Like the first wheat plants, the Challot were also big, fluffy and delicious!

In modern times, we are blessed with year-round access to milled grains ready to bake into delicious breads and cakes. In our climate, the wheat is still completely green - we expect these grains to be ready for harvest sometime in July. Yet, as we look toward Shavuot, we are aware that this festival celebrates more than just the giving of the Torah - it also reminds us of the seasons in ancient Israel. Shavuot only comes once a year, but Shabbat comes every week!

While the wheat that goes into our challah may come in a package for most of the year , Consider: the richness of the eggs, an essential ingredient in challah, come from our very own chickens at Adamah farm. (Read on below about a recent Friday afternoon challah marathon, coupled with farm chores and pre-shabbat rituals here at Adamah farm.) One of the most special parts of preparing for Shabbat is making your own challah! Sweeter and fluffier than store bought challah, making challah at home allows you to add your favorite ingredients to it. Best of all, when it’s time for dinner, it is warm and fresh.

While some people may already have a challah baking routine incorporated into their pre-Shabbat plans, for others it can be a bit stressful. Here is a preview of what day to day Adamah is like, and how we recently figured out how to incorporate challah making successfully into our plans. The closer you make it to Shabbat, the fresher it will taste!

3 hours before Shabbat: Gather eggs from the chickens 2.5 hours before Shabbat: Mix ingredients, knead, let rise 2 hours before Shabbat: Go milk goats 1.5 hours before Shabbat: Braid dough, cover in egg wash, let rise 1 hour and 15 minutes before Shabbat: Mikvah (Ritual purification process done at many times, including before Shabbat. At Adamah we jump in the river!), shower and dress for Shabbat. 45 minutes before Shabbat: Put dough in oven at least 45 min before Shabbat starts; put oven on timer to turn off at candle lighting 15 minutes before Shabbat: Put chickens to bed. At candlelighting time: Remove challot from oven. Light Shabbat Candles.

After we made motzi, the challah was devoured, and everybody loved it. That feeling of success of making others happy mad us feel warm on the inside, and so did the challah.

ADAMAH connects people to their roots—to the land, to community, to Judaism and to themselves. Adamah means “earth.” Adamah’s educational programs and homegrown products emphasize hands-on experience and peer leadership to empower participants with skills and confidence to make a difference. Now accepting applications for our 2012 Summer and Fall Fellowships! Visit [adamah.org] (http://isabellafreedman.org/adamah/intro) today


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.